Daylight savings, 60 deg weather in March are the perfect ingredients for the first group ride of the year, better known as Colonial. I was excited to get out and ride hard with others if anything to see where I'm at with bike fitness. This ride is a great chance to put it out there and make yourself hurt. It is about 40 miles of HARD with some really fast riders. So Tuesday afternoon I had that funny feeling of nerves in my stomach like I do before some big races, but this was the perfect day to get out and get after it!
I kept telling myself, maybe they won't go too hard because it's the first ride of the year, or...maybe that will make them go super hard because they are all rev'd up. Then I thought...maybe there won't be that many guys because the ride is starting an hour earlier than normal....just because it is still getting dark before 7. All the silly self talk to myself making me believe it will be ok...when I know how this can hurt. Well.....at least 20 riders showed up and they hit it hard once we hit the open roads. More so than I expected! The great thing was that, I was hanging in there with them. There were a few touchy moments where I was almost dropped off the back and left for dust, but my legs were there (thank you Mark and squats and dead lifts!) and I was able to bridge up and hang on for dear life.
About 3/4 of through the ride, the group is acting weird. Sometimes I can't figure out what they are doing, but I am eyes up and looking at the wheel or bum of whoever is in front of me. They must think I am a B*&^ because I don't chit chat much for fear of someone making a move and I'm looking the other way. But, I think between a cross wind and getting ready to sprint to a stop sign people were up and looking around and they were all over the road. Before I knew it someone was sideways and going down directly in front of me as I am surrounded by guys with nowhere to go but down, taking someone else with me. A 3 biker pile up. Bike fine/ check. No serious pain at the moment/ check. Everyone seemed ok and luckily we were all able to ride on home. I was left with some lovely road rash, and bruises keep appearing, but my sacrum was banged pretty hard and I've been walking around like I have a corn cob shoved you know where,....and like I did after having an 8lb 13 oz baby boy.
It's a temporary pause in a good start to spring. The athlete in me is mad and angry because I don't want to lose what I've worked hard this winter to gain, the coach and realistic person is ok and realizes it could have been worse and sometimes these things happen for a reason. My bike is fine but not shifting great, so I'll have to go see The Bike Shop boys, but that could have been worse also.
As athletes we inevitably experience all kinds of set backs at 1 point or another. Injury, poor performance, getting sick, missed workouts due to ...life (for those of us who do more than train/race for a living) such as sick kids work/travel etc. can put a kink in training. The important thing is to not let it get you down. There is always something to be working or focusing on to help better your performance like stretching and flexibility which always seems to get neglected, core work, even laying on ice visualizing the perfect race is work towards achieving your goals. A few days on the sidelines can also re-light the fire inside, damper any burn out and fatigue allowing you to come back even stronger.